User manual for NGO clients

Version 1.07 updated on March 31, 2015


The Translators without Borders Workspace powered by, also called translation center, is an automated platform that connects humanitarian organizations („clients“) in need of translations with qualified volunteer translators willing to provide such work on a pro bono basis. Translators are highly qualified professionals who continually invest in their language skills. Their pro bono work on behalf of client organizations is a valuable gift.

Both clients and translators are screened by Translators without Borders. For further details and to request access to our services please check the TWB web page

Translators without Borders carefully screens its volunteer translators and strives to provide high quality translation. Translators without Borders cannot guarantee that a given translation request will be accepted by our volunteers, or that the translation will be delivered in time, or will be adequate for its intended purposes. Clients should carefully review all translations.

Success strategies for TWB clients

Volunteer translators dedicate only a part of their time to unpaid humanitarian and they are also in demand for commercial work, which means that your translation requests may not be fulfilled. Some success strategies are presented below.

You need an appealing project

  • First of all, create a project name, summary and description that explain the reason behind the translation project, why the translation will make a difference by helping mitigate damages or risks, by improving education, etc.
  • Remember to mention the nature of the “event” behind the need (earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, civil wars outbreaks, etc.), the location, the people that will benefit by the project, etc.
  • The project summary will be included in the notification sent to the volunteers so this is one of your strongest tools to get their attention and potential commitment.

Provide a reasonable deadline

  • The choice of the right deadline is critical for project acceptance by volunteers, as more available time generally means a higher likelihood of acceptance.
  • A week is reasonable for documents of up to 2,000 words and longer times should be considered for larger files.
  • If shorter deadlines are really needed it may be helpful to explain the reasons for the urgency.

Format should be user-friendly

  • Format is paramount for a translator. In particular, PDF documents are not compatible with translators’ tools.
  • PDF files can sometimes be converted to other formats, but this consumes unnecessary time. Providing files in PDF format only may lead to lower acceptance, document formatting problems, and deadline delays.

Prepare the source files

  • Conditioning the source files before sending them for translation can mean a lot for the project. Some examples:
  • If your document is partially translated and only certain sections need translation, it is better to extract these sections and post only these for translation to reduce word counts and PM involvement. PM requirements add a manual stage in a highly automated process, and will delay the launch of the project.
  • When translating a web page, your webmaster may be unable to identify the translated sections to reassemble the page. It is better to extract the source text and insert it in one or more MS Word tables with a first column displaying consecutive numbers (1, 2, 3, …) and the second column displaying the individual paragraphs. Translators can deal with this format and the webmaster will be able to replace each source paragraph with the corresponding translation.

Instructions should be complete:

  • Clearly state your needs at the moment the translation request is created. Remember to include all relevant information, such as variant of the target language to be used, register, cultural level of the people who will use the translation, etc. For example, most translators working into Iberian Portuguese will decline a translation into Brazilian Portuguese, so this information should be available from the start.
  • Also consider adding reference material that could be useful to the translators. Glossaries, previously translated similar documents, common acronyms and the like will be helpful to the translators for efficiently producing high quality translations.

Build a relationship:

  • Volunteer translators are generous professionals who are willing to donate their skills and time to humanitarian cause, and should not be taken for granted.
  • Remember to thank translators who helped you and be quick to share with them any positive feedback received. Please be sure to acknowledge their work wherever possible.
  • Promptly answer their queries, as your replies will help ensure good translation quality.

Managing your company accounts

Company accounts are the people acting on behalf of your company in the TWB translation center. There are two different roles associated with them:

  • client admin in an administrator for this client and has access to all the jobs created by any of the client contacts.
  • Client users are client contacts that can access only the jobs they created.

To manage the accounts for your company click on ‚Business settings‘ (the third entry under the little profile icon, the rightmost option in the top drop-down menu), and then selecting ‚Manage accounts‘ in the left menu.

  • The ‚Admins‘ and Users' tabs show, respectively, the admin and user accounts invited to act on behalf of your company.
  • Active accounts (invitations accepted) are shown with a green background.
  • Accounts who have not accepted the invitation are shown with a blue background and can be invited again by clicking on ‚Resend Invitation‘.
  • Accounts can be excluded from the system by clicking on the ‚X‘ icon to the right on the corresponding line.

The ‚Invite new users‘ button will let you invite another person to act on behalf of your company, either with an admin or user account. You will need to enter an email address and an invitation message.

The information and options offered to the invited contact can be found at in this Google document

Sometimes the contacts claim that they did not get the invitation. This is normally the email program on their end, or at their email supplier, classifying our notifications as spam and sending them to a spam storage or simply killing them.

  • Resend the invitation (there is a link for this)
  • If they still get no invitations, ask them to look into their spam folder (the invitations are sent from
  • If not found there, resend the invitation to a free email address belonging to the same contact.

Managing your company files

Company files will be available as supporting material in all active jobs posted on behalf of your organization. This can include lists of acronyms, glossaries, translation memories and other reference documents. This should be a key element to improve the quality of the translations you will get from our volunteers.

To manage the files for your company you need an admin profile. To do so click on ‚Business settings‘ (the third entry under the little profile icon, the rightmost option in the top drop-down menu), and then selecting ‚Manage accounts‘ in the left menu.

In the ‚File management‘ page you will see all files currently uploaded, that will be available as reference files on all active jobs for the client.

The ‚Upload file‘ button will let you upload a new client file.

Translation center structure

The translation center has a structure of work order→ job → task, where

  • A work order (W.O.) is what the client posts as a general framework, including project, source and reference files, deadline, field of expertise required, notes and special instructions, etc.
  • A job is the application of a work order to a defined target language. A W.O. can include several jobs, from a common source language into different target languages.
  • A task is an individual file offered to the volunteers for translation. A job can include several tasks, both independently added by the client and as the result of the splitting by the PM of larger source files.

A translation request can be automatically made available to translators, or it may require preparation and manual release by a project manager.

Navigation through the translation center is managed from the top dropdown menu, including:
Dashboard: Displays the following options:

  • Open jobs: jobs posted by you and currently active
  • Overdue jobs: jobs posted by you and currently overdue
  • Completed jobs: jobs posted by you and already delivered
  • Your company’s profile
  • „My statistics“ box, including totals for jobs in the preparing, sourcing, translating, complete and overdue status. Clicking on each status will display the corresponding jobs.

Clients: Displays the list of translation center clients

Work orders: Displays the following options:

  • View work orders: displays the work orders created by you
  • Create new work orders

Jobs: The option “all jobs” displays all the jobs created by you

Translators: The option “all translators” displays a list of all volunteer translators in the system

Creating a new work order

In order to create a new work order:

  • Select ‚Work orders‘ → ‚Create new work order‘
  • Select an existing project, or create a new one by clicking on ‚Create new project‘ and entering name, summary and description for the new project.
  • Enter a work order title for your reference
  • Enter notes or special instructions for the W.O. This information helps translators decide whether to accept the job. Helpful information includes, for instance, the variant of the target language for languages such as Portuguese or Chinese.
  • Enter the deadline for the work order (deadlines can't be shorter than 24 hours or longer than 30 days)
  • Select a field of specialization (broad or detailed). This is only a reference for the volunteers, as this information is not yet used for the screening of translators.
  • Enter the source language (only source languages with associated translators will be shown)
  • Upload the source file(s).
  • Upload optional files as supporting materials for help or reference for the work order, such as glossaries, translation memories, dictionaries, templates, etc.
  • For both source files and supporting material please note that:
  • maximum upload file size is 10MB. A „heavy“ file can be made „lighter“ by deleting non-essencial pictures.
  • allowed file extension are doc, pdf, ttx, rtf, txt, odt, docx, odg, xls, xlsx, csv, tmw, zip, iix, mdf, mtf, ots, xml, idt, log, wps, ppt, xlf, pptx, srt, tmx, sdltm, xliff
  • Click on ‚Continue‘

Now, for each target language:

  • Enter the deadline only if different from the one selected for the work order
  • Select the target language. The number of providers available will be shown. Only language pairs with registered volunteers will be presented.
  • Select ‚Manual queue‘ only if you want to force the invitation queue to be manually launched by the PM (this option should normally be left unchecked)
  • Upload supporting files that are specific for this target language (supporting files for all target languages should be uploaded in the previous page)
  • Click on ‚Save and create more jobs‘ if you will add more target languages, or on ‚Save and continue‘ to save all created jobs and continue to review your order.
  • Review your work order and, if OK, click on ‚Submit work order‘.

If you want the job assigned to a specific translator:

  • Make sure first that the translator is willing to accept the job.
  • Select ‚Manual queue‘ in the screen where you select the target language (so the PM will be able to assign the job as desired).
  • Once the job has been created, enter a comment letting the PM know that the job should be manually assigned to the selected translator.

After you release your work order:

  • Most work orders will be automatically released but participation from a PM will be needed if at least a source file is larger than 3K words, or if source files total more than 10K words.
  • Large source files will be split to make their acceptance more probable. Longer deadlines make splitting less critical.
  • When a file is split, the PM will delete the table of contents because a) the volunteer translating it can's know the translation of tiles in other tasks, and b) tables of contents should be created automatically based on the titles structure.
  • When a job is released, the translators who meet the corresponding requirements are automatically sorted in random order, and then notifications are sent out at 15-minute intervals in batches of 5 notifications.
  • Translators are invited to a job posting page where they can evaluate the tasks offered and eventually accept one or more of them. The first notified translator who accepts a task will receive the assignment.
  • Once all tasks have been accepted, a job is closed and no longer available to other interested translators.

Note: If you experience problems while creating a work order, the following emergency procedure has been reported as helpful:

  • Log-in to the translation center
  • Select ‚Work orders‘ → ‚Create new work order‘
  • Click on ‚delete‘
  • Select ‚Work orders‘ → ‚Create new work order‘ and proceed.

Jobs with confidentiality requirements

TWB volunteers did not sign any special Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). No professional translator will reveal text belonging to a client, but some translation request involve strong confidentiality issues. For these cases, the following approach can be used:

  • When creating the work order, instead of the real source file upload a document describing the job and the NDA that the translators must agree when they accept the job.
  • In the instructions, explain that once the job was accepted, the source file will be replaced by the actual document to be translated.
  • The word count for this temporary file should be manually modified to be the same as the actual document to be translated (ideally no more than 3K words).
  • Once the job was accepted, attach the real file to be translated to a message asking the PM to replace the original file with the one attached. (The PM has access to a ‚replace file‘ feature activated by the little cog wheel in the corresponding task.)

Managing your work orders

You can access your work orders by means of:

  • The links included in the notifications
  • The menu option ‚Work orders‘ → ‚View work orders‘

In the he work order page you will find:

  • Basic information on the work order, the project manager, the status and a link to each of the associated jobs.
  • A messages feature for communications with the project manager that will not reach the translators. To communicate with translators you should post messages in the corresponding jobs. A file can be attached to these messages.
  • A link to manage sources that will enable you to add source files to an already created (but not yet complete) work order, or delete an already uploaded file (by clicking on the little cogwheel to the left of the file name)..

Managing your jobs

You can access your jobs by means of:

  • The links included in the notifications
  • The dashboard
  • The menu option ‚Jobs‘ → ‚All jobs‘

In the Job page you will find a top menu with the following tabs:

  • Overview: general information on the job
  • Source files: files to be translated, uploaded in this work order
  • Supporting material: not to be translated, only for reference. Click on ‚Manage supporting materials‘ to add reference files and to delete them (by clicking on the little cogwheel to the left of the file name).
  • Client information: general information on your organization
  • Project information

In the main (overview) tab you will find a summary of the information you entered for the job, including subject area, client, project, deadline, number of source words, source files and support files, and the notes and instructions.

Below the summary you will find the Workflow areas:

  • Sourcing: related to the assignment of tasks to translators
  • Translating: Includes all the tasks to be translated or edited.
  • Delivery: Includes the files translated into the target language or edited. These files will automatically appear in the delivery area when tasks are completed.

The comments area will let you communicate with the ‚people on the job‘, including the translators and editors and the PM.

  • These players will be able to see your comments and will receive a notification when they are posted.
  • Please do not reply to automatic notification emails but deliver your messages as comments in the corresponding job pages.
  • Files can be attached to the comments.

In the boxes corresponding to tasks in your job you will find:

  • The deadline for delivery
  • The file to be downloaded by the service provider for translation or editing.
  • A button for the service provider to upload the translated or edited file.
  • You will be able to edit the file name shown or the word count for the corresponding file by clicking on the little cogwheel to the left of the name of the file, click on ‘edit file info’, editing the fields and clicking ‘submit’.
  • Once the processed file was uploaded you will see a button to ‘mark task as complete’.

To the right of this screen you will find boxes displaying the status of the job, people on the job and members online.

You will also find a job options box with the following features:

  • Edit job will let you modify the ‚Notes or special instructions‘ independently for each of the jobs in a work order.
  • View work order will take you to the work order page.
  • View job posting will take you to the job posting page, where translators are invited to evaluate and eventually accept your translation requests. At the top right in that page you will find a ‘manage this job posting’ link that will enable you to edit the job title, and close the job (this is seldom used, as the job will close automatically once all the tasks are accepted by the translators).
  • Extend deadline(s) will let you extend the deadlines for one or more activities (accepting the job invitation and/or delivering the corresponding tasks).
  • Cancellation: If no tasks have been assigned yet you can click on ‚Cancel work order‘ to cancel single-job work orders, or on ‚Cancel job‘ to cancel individual jobs in a multi-job work order. Once at least a task has been assigned in a job, you can ‚request cancellation‘ and let the PM decide and implement the cancellation. In all cases you will be asked to enter a reason for the cancellation (this will be included in the corresponding notifications).